Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Funny Girl

My all-time favorite Filipino comedy (or maybe even Filipino movie) is Kimmy Dora. It gave me one of the best laughs ever--the kind that makes your belly ache and your eyes tear up. (If you haven't seen it, go get a copy--a legit one!--now!) So I was very happy to meet the lead star, our March cover girl, Eugene Domingo.

"Best actresses are more fun in the Philippines!" says our creative director Carlo. Photo by Ocs Alvarez/ACME Innovatives, makeup by Tatin Yang, hair by Alee Benson, styling by Kity Dilao.

While she cracked us up during the shoot ("Si Oprah talaga, lahat na lang may lesson no?"), she also turned contemplative as she talked about her pursuit of happiness. Get to know a different side of Eugene in this issue.

One of my favorite features is our summer reading list (by contributor, Cosmo managing editor and Techy Romantics lead singer Camille Besinga), where we have book recommendations for kids and grownups (both men and women). In case y'all haven't noticed, I love reading, and so does the rest of the team--it's quite important for writers to be readers. This is our little way of sharing the love.

Since we didn't have time to go to the beach, we just bought some fine sand and pulled out seashells (yep, they're available in stores). Sssshhh.:)

My other favorite stories:
  • "Help Your Kid Find Her Passion" (something I wish my parents had read to keep me from wasting all my time when I was a kid)
  • "30 Ways to Make This Your Best Summer Ever" (30 ways to...make this your best. Summer. Evah!)
  • "6 Summer Must-Haves" (how to dress up or dress down six great summer pieces so you get more mileage out of them. I especially love the crisp white coat!)
  • And...well, I could go on. I love this issue.:) We've revamped a few pages so it's looking more dynamic.
It's just a hundred bucks, so do grab a copy. It's a great way to kick off the hot, hot summer!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tishie's Travels: Water, Water, Everywhere

Or, "My Near-Death Experience.":s

Lei blogged about our trip to CDO/Bukidnon, which included a four-hour white-water rafting adventure. We don't have the official photos yet, just shots like this one from our friend Ivy's waterproof cam.

Three weird girls

So yeah, I fell (more like flew) out of the raft when we hit a rough patch in some rapids, and I hit my back and my thigh against some huge rocks. (That's what I get for obediently following our guide's instructions to go "Forward!" while everyone else was hanging on for dear life.) It all happened so fast, I was caught off guard. The hardest thing was not knowing when I would resurface from the rushing water and get some air. Thank God I didn't panic. For a second I thought about the possibility of drowning but just put that out of my mind and remembered what we were told during orientation: If you fall in the rapids, just get on your back and wait for someone to give you a hand. So I got on my back and promptly floated to the surface. I held out my arm and started feeling around: rock, rock, water, rock, oar--OAR! I grabbed on and was pulled to safety. I couldn't do much climbing back into the raft though as my body was pretty banged up. Thankfully, it wasn't anything serious. When it looked like I was fine, my teammate made jokes about how I shouldn't pretend like I'm in a live version of Temple Run.

So that experience. I had always wanted to go white water rafting, and now that I've checked that off my list, I'm probably not going to do it a second time. I think I would rather go bungee jumping again!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On Sacrifices

"(But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you." (Matthew 6:1-4)

It's Ash Wednesday, and for the past few days, my Twitter and Facebook feeds have shown so many people declaring their sacrifices for Lent. I used to do this too, before the age of Facebook. But one day I thought about why I had to tell the world what I was giving up. Was I asking people to help me stick to my commitment? Or was I looking for praise ("Wow, ang galing mo naman, 40 days without chocolate!")? When I was completely honest with myself, it was mostly because of the latter. It was then that I realized that a sacrifice made for God was best kept between a person and God. I know (or at least hope) that those making sacrifices mean well and have the best intentions--but perhaps, to think about their motives would be a good spiritual exercise.

While I do not consider myself religious, I invite you--one sinner to another (haha), trying to be a better person--to reflect with me: What does one hope to achieve by giving something up? Is it necessary for everyone else to know? For what purpose? I, for one, seem to have forgotten the essence of sacrifice--what does it do for one's soul exactly? Might God (and my fellowmen) be better served by good works rather than self-denial?

Have a blessed Lenten season, everyone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Polarized: My First Pole Class

My first stop after taking my first pole-dancing class was at a cafe for a hearty lunch, because doing things like this is one way to really work up an appetite...

Must lengthen neck

My second stop was at a drugstore to buy some Alaxan, because climbing that thing HURTS. It's been three days and I can still feel some pain in my arms, core, and inner thighs. Speaking of which, I found out that one of the best things about this form of dancing is that a little thigh fat is a good thing. Finally, a dance class where I fit in!

Some other surprising things I learned:
  1. An hour-long class is plenty. You'd think it's bitin, but even alternating on the pole with someone is enough to leave you exhausted (and famished). It takes a lot of strength to climb and hold poses!
  2. Doing spins makes you dizzy. I don't know why I didn't even think of that. I guess when you try to master a spin and do it repeatedly, it really gets to you. I'm told some pros even take Bonamine before getting on the spinning pole.
  3. My Polecat friend told me that every dancer has a strength--it could be legs, upper body, a bendy back, the actual dancing. I don't know what mine is, but given these thighs, it's probably my legs!
Will be back for more.:)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In the Pink

Pond's asked the editors to wear something pink to a recent event. I don't really have pink dresses so...

I didn't get a great night's sleep (even in the sumptuous Midas Hotel bed) because I generally have trouble sleeping without the husband beside me. Hence, the eyebags and sallow skin. I felt so haggard next to all the lovely editors and models!

Lovely Frances from OK! and pretty pretty Cit-Cit from Inquirer (formerly from Preview)--who couldn't not wear black

Great food, great event, great company!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Quickie on V-Day

...A quickie meal, that is!

For an early Valentine celebration, I whipped up Good Housekeeping's "Fast Love" menu, published in the January-February 2012 issue. Our promise: "Rekindle the passion with these easy yet lovingly prepared dishes that don't require hours in the kitchen." I skipped making dessert since I still had red velvet cupcakes left over (and a bottle of wine and some cheese), but it took me just about an hour to make three courses: Chunky Tomato Sauce Dip with Kesong Puti, Mango Pasta with Tuna, and Pork Steak with Devil Sauce. (The original menu included Coco-Orange Dip--got to try it after the shoot, and it was really yummy!)

It's really easy to prepare so you can spend more hours on...other romantic pursuits.;) I'll just share one recipe--it's not too late to grab a copy of GH so you can get all the other recipes!

Pork Steak with Devil Sauce


2 pork steaks
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 beef bouillon cube, dissolved in 1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon diced tomato (I used an entire small tomato since my husband loves tomatoes)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Season pork steaks with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  2. In a frying pan over medium heat, heat oil and pan fry pork steaks until cooked through. Leave in the oven in low heat to keep warm.
  3. In the same pan, pour off any excess fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons. Sweat the onions. Sprinkle in flour and cook before pouring in beef stock. Stir to dissolve any lumps and cook until mixture thickens. Add diced tomato, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne pepper. Cook until heated through.
  4. Remove from heat, pour over pork steaks. Serve immediately.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tishie's Travels: Dumaguete Redux

A week before the earthquake struck Negros, I was in Dumaguete for the launch of the 50th Cultural Season at Siliman University. I had been to Dumaguete a couple of times before the junket, and it's one of my favorite places--first because it has really good, really cheap food (hullo, Best Silvanas Ever. And P15 breakfasts at the market!); second because it was the site of my epic (informal) bachelorette party; third because, by virtue of my first and second points, I have some very fond, very fun memories of the place.

I knew nothing about this whole cultural season, and was duly enlightened during the trip. I learned that Dumaguete has a culture of culture--it's an artists' haven, and both the show and the documentary I watched demonstrated just how vibrant the arts and culture scene is in this college town. It showed me a whole other side of Dumaguete that I didn't even know existed. It's like discovering that the bad boy I've been crushing on actually has a sensitive side.

Luce Auditorium at Silliman University

I half-expected the launch to be a boring affair, but I enjoyed watching the show. It was tight and well-paced, a great mix of song, dance, and poetry. My favorite part was when one lady told us what life was like for her in Dumaguete during the war: Their house was right beside a Japanese prison, and when she and her sister would play the piano, the Japanese would ask if they could come in and listen. Later on, when the Americans came, the two girls were showered with nickles and pennies as they played for all the Joes. And then, as she finished her story, a young girl came out to play a piece on the piano--something our storyteller must have played as a young girl herself during the war. It was as if a flashback had come alive on stage.

If you get the chance to visit Dumaguete, I highly recommend catching a show. Siliman University's 50th cultural season begins in June and runs until May 2013.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dreamy Home: SoCal Cool

If ever there was a local house that would be perfect for Architectural Digest, this would be it.

Located in Negros, this house is built in a style that's evocative of Arizona or Mexico--so unlike anything else in the Philippines, where Mediterranean and Tropical Moderne styles are king. So I had to ask the owner what inspired him to come up with this design. He replied that he had studied in Southern California and the landscape there--dry, with lots of red and brown--was very similar to the Negros property in the summer. He just took off from there.

The furniture is ever-evolving, since the owner is a furniture designer. He and his wife are such gracious hosts--this is a couple (and a house) that is used to entertaining. Well, yeah, if I lived there, I'd have people over all the time.

And I haven't even shown you the best part yet.

It is one of the most amazing houses I've ever seen, and after years of shooting beautiful homes all over the country for Real Living, that's saying something! I never thought I would be attracted to this style (for years, I adored Arthur Casas' Iporanga project), but this house kind of altered my idea of a dream home.

I had to restrain myself from going into complete RL mode and asking a million questions about the house. I think the only other thing I asked him was how he found this dreamy place, a cliff overlooking sea and mountains. "I just chanced upon the property," he replied.

If only we could all be so lucky.